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Piers Morgan: Freeze-Dried Facetime
January 18, 2011  | By P.J. Bednarski

No doubt Piers Morgan will succeed on CNN, or at least survive on the CNN scale, which pretty much means his show will continue, like The New Adventures of Old Christine, which stayed on the air until it didn't.

I have a feeling Piers will be like that. For CNN, that's an improvement, recognition-wise.

Suggested slogan for Piers Morgan: More Likable Than Eliot Spitzer.

Morgan's first show Monday night featured a probing interview with Oprah Winfrey. It is hard to get her to talk about herself, as you know. And especially these days when she is so busy running her own network. It is a credit to Morgan's hard work that he somehow talked Oprah into showing up. As she said, more than once, "Oh, you're good." I wonder if Oprah Winfrey, who has hosted a daily talk show since 1983, possibly knew that saying "Oh, you're good" to a new talk show host could be used as a promo. And did Piers?


Really, really lucky, that.

Morgan's first-week guests show a strong propensity toward obviousness. (Obviousity? Whatever.) This is not the man who is aiming to surprise you. He'd be terrible picking Baskin Robbins' 32 Flavors, absolutely not the guy you want picking stumpers on your Charades team. Look at that list: Howard Stern (formerly interesting), Ricky Gervais (good, but only to explain his Golden Globes attitude), and Condoleezza Rice (see parenthetical for Howard Stern). A quality booking, to be fair: Morgan later this week (Friday night at 9 ET) will talk to George Clooney and his father, Nick Clooney, a pairing that if done right would exhibit how a remarkable and classy father raised a remarkable son.

But besides the Clooneys, nothing seems too clever here, and nothing coming up in the near future, either. TVGuide.com found it newsworthy that Morgan will not invite Howie Mandel onto his show. Yes, you read it correctly. The banishment, honest to God, sounds like something from The Onion. (Talk Host Vows to Shun Howie Mandel Booking! Subhed: Wise-cracking Germaphobe Will Have to Dish Dirt Elsewhere)

Upcoming guests Piers Morgan will entertain all come from the low-hanging fruit basket. They include Rod Stewart, Rudy Giuliani, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Donald and Melania Trump. I hardly have the energy to type their names. Fassss-cin-ating. Direct from Mary Hart's old clips file.


So what am I crabbing about? Well, at least with Larry King (and starting from the least is a good place to start), he took calls, and while he was dithering and all that, Larry King Live wasn't the same old polished taped TV tripe. I get the idea that in the last few years when guests didn't know where Larry was going with his questions, they began throwing out opinions left and right as a kind of aggressive defense. It was sometimes fun and very often ridiculous, but at least he wasn't as freeze-dried as Piers Morgan appears to be.

One day in, and I'm bored with Piers Morgan Tonight, bored with his guests, unsure he really has much intelligence and uncommitted to finding out.

Sometimes you meet an anchorman and realize he's all artifice, and then you shake yourself for ever supposing he was something more. I think that way about Piers Morgan. Not much to him. Hard to believe he was ever a newspaperman (pardon the prejudice). Take away the British accent, and all you have left is a stiff, with a television chat show.



Danny said:

look at that list: Howard Stern (formerly interesting).

If he is not interesting anymore, why would Sirius resign him for five more years. Why do his interviews still make news (Camille Grammar). I wonder what broadcasters you find interesting?

Comment posted on January 18, 2011 11:28 PM
Tom Brinkmoeller said:

Speaking as one who once competed with him at the other paper in town, the only talent that exceeds P.J.'s sizzling writing skills is his ability to take a story apart from all sides and present a case that's as close to irrefutable as it is fun to read.
If you're a crook, be glad he's not a prosecutor.
If you're bad at TV, try like the Dickens to stay out of his home.
And if you're Piers Morgan. . . well, P.J.'s story is one of the thousands of reasons I'm glad I'm not.

Comment posted on January 19, 2011 7:33 AM
Dennis Engstrom said:

Camille Grammer? Who's that? She made news?

Comment posted on January 21, 2011 9:18 PM
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